woensdag 4 juni 2014

Patent number one

Patent number 1

For those who have some time left to play around, a neat game is looking for the very first patents issued. For this exercise, a look in the EPO databases [1], the USPTO databases [2] or the WIPO databases [3] may be sufficient.

Quite astonishing, the patents bearing number 1, i.e.: US1, DE1, FR1, US1, NL1 etc. do exist, and can be retrieved from the various databases. Even more astonishing, at least in the Netherlands, the NL1 is not the first Dutch patent at all.

The very first Dutch patent was issued in the year 1515 [4]. almost four hundred years earlier than the issue date of NL1. This patent was issued while there was no codified patent law, and the powers of the monopoly including a punishment for the infringer was stated in the document itself. From this year up to the French era, a number of 1081 Dutch patents have thus been granted.

In the year 1809 finally, the Dutch King Lodewijk Napoleon (the French ruler in the Netherlands) issued a first codified (mini)patent law, which was superseded in 1810 by the original French patent law from 1791. Finally in 1817 a new Dutch patent law was issued, which was abolished in 1869. when the true dark ages of our beloved patent system had started. Only in 1912 a new patent law was reinstated in the Netherlands, and only under this law, the NL1 was issued on April 3, 1913.

During the French rule, only 7 patents were granted. In the era thereafter, under the patent law of 1817 until its sad abolishment in 1869, a number of 4541 Dutch patents have been granted.

Adding up: Before our assumed first Dutch patent, Nl1 already 5629 Dutch patents have been issued.

It is about time to fill this gap, and get these great sources of historic literature and culture in the Espacenet databases! Examiners love to cite historic disclosures, well here is an excellent opportunity to extend the body of "state of the art".
And more importantly, it is pure fun looking in these documents full of ancient technologies....


[1] European Patent Office http://www.espacenet.org/

[2] United States Patent and Trademark Office http://www.uspto.gov

[3] World Intellectual Property Organisation http://www.wipo.int

[4] G. Doorman, "Octrooien voor uitvindingen in de Nederlanden uit de 16e-18e eeuw", den Haag (1940)